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Adapted Health with Eric Donovan, FNLP


I am so excited for today's blog post!


I have teamed up with a very close friend of mine, Eric Donovan. A lot of you may already know Eric and can speak to his infectious, loving, calm energy. I have come to think of Eric as a wise, old sage. Although he's in his early 30's, he's an old soul with a thesaurus of information tucked away in the folds of his brain, ready and willing to lend his knowledge to anyone seeking it.


I have known Eric since high school but our friendship has grown deeper over the years as our interests and fascination with health and wellness intertwine. We are constantly pumping each other up about things that excite us. Whether it's going for a walk, hopping on the phone for a quick brain dump, or sending inappropriate memes to each other, Eric is a constant bright light I am forever gravitating to.


On top of being a great friend, Eric is an amazing resource for all things health related. Whenever I have questions or concerns regarding my health -- a new supplement I want to try out, all-natural home remedies for a cold, etc., Eric is often the first person I text hoping to glean some of his invaluable two cents. I trust him because I know that he knows his sh*t!


A couple years back, Eric launched Adapted Health where he offers his services as a Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner. The following is a brief interview with Eric where he explains what he does, why he does it and how he could be a resource to you.


I couldn't think of a better time to launch this post as it is coming up on the start of the new year. If you are looking to start 2023 fresh and gain control of your health but don't know where to start, I hope this interview inspires you to take the first step!


Enjoy :)


Introduce yourself!


My name is Eric Lewis Donovan, FNLP. I’m 34 and a native to Scituate, MA. I'm a nutrition counselor/health coach and public speaker. I’m a 18 year cancer survivor and 12 year post-spinal cord injury survivor. I am a brother, son, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend and neighbor and wear each one of those titles proudly.


I think I’ve always been a little bit of an old soul but having a diagnosis such as mine at such a young age forced me to grow up fast. I see myself as a mirror to and in appreciation of all the events that have brought me to today which includes all the people and connections I have been shaped by.

What are your qualifications?


I am a Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Practitioner (FNLP) & Certified Integrative Health Coach (CIHC). I have a pretty colorful medical history so I like to consider myself an expert patient when it comes to dealing with and understanding the complexities and layers of a diagnosis.


How did you find yourself in this line of work?


I started pursuing a career in nutrition after years of treating symptoms of “dis-ease” rather than addressing the root cause of the issues I was dealing with.


I began investigating nutrition and invested that information back into myself and took ownership over my health. I’ve never looked back.


What is Adapted Health?


Adapted Health is my call to action. My personal experiences with the healthcare system as well as my curiosities in nutrition, health and wellness, has me eager to continue to grow and learn how extremely complex the human body is in the best way possible. By practicing nutrition, lifestyle and wellness while fostering the pillars of our health, we are able to take back our power with own personal wellness.


I currently offer private one-on-one and group nutrition counseling and coaching where I am able to access a variety of sensitivity testing for food and environmental toxins which allows me to hone in on specific health concerns to develop a plan that meets the clients' needs.


Additionally, I am affiliated with Thorne. Thorne is a lab that offers a number of supplements that are highly conscious of nutritional sensitivities as well as environmental toxins. Anyone can reach out to me and I can help guide them through Thorne's website as well as provide guidance into purchasing from their website as far as what supplements to buy, etc.

Lastly, I am newly available for public speaking events.


What role do you believe mental health plays in nutrition?

It’s all connected. There’s a lot of important information coming from the gut/brain axis. This connection was once thought to be one way, but it has been discovered and acknowledged that there is constant ongoing communication back-and-forth in regards to the brain. It’s pretty incredible. The phrase "trust your gut“ means more to me now than it ever has. But to answer your question, nutrition can play a massively important role in mental health.


It is well known that dark, leafy greens, nuts, seeds and salmon, are all foods with omega 3s and colorful fruits and vegetables all supply food to the brain, thus adding value to our mental wellbeing.


Healing is not linear and in most cases, it takes a functional, multi-pronged approach to address what ails us. I have found talk therapy extremely valuable and am now understanding that being in the right headspace can help us make healthier choices when it comes to food, which feeds your brain, which feeds your mood..it's all connected.


What are your favorite and/or go-to foods for the following meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner & desert?

I love this question. I love food. I’ve found that by eating what’s in season (local and fresh), my body responds best. Almost all my meals or snacks will consist of protein, fat and fiber. I’ve also thrown away the mindset of typical or standard foods you associate with the time of day we eat; I’ll have salmon on fresh arugula salad with picked onion for breakfast some mornings, other mornings I’ll have eggs with sweet potato and chive -- it really varies. In the past few years, I’ve really started to eat intuitively for what my body is asking for, but I always stay true to my protein, fat and fiber formula.

What is something people may not know about you?


I love flowers, plants and gardens. A green thumb perhaps?


What are the top three concerns you find people reaching out to you the most about in terms of their health?


Gut health, blood sugar balance, weight loss.


What are 5 vitamins and/or supplements you believe everyone should be taking daily?


Great question. I love to bring in supplements when they’re targeted. I encourage my clients (and everyone) to first find out when and if there is a known deficiency that needs extra support. If there is some sort of deficiency, only then will I lean into supplementation.


I don’t like to just say “here take this", but it is widely documented that most Americans are deficient in magnesium and vitamins A, C and D. Eat your colors.


What are your favorite brands of supplements/vitamins you stand by and why?


As I’m sure you and your readers are already aware of, there is an overwhelming amount of competition in the vitamin and supplements arena, which is why it’s even more important to consider the quality and source of the product you’re taking. I personally have aligned my practice with products from Thorne research labs. However, I use products, supplements and botanicals from a variety of sources. Do your research. There’s value in everyone’s budget.


What are a few wellness habits/rituals that you have implemented into your lifestyle? Why do you do them and do you recommend them to others?


Learn how to breathe. One of the most powerful tools we have is in our ability to control our breath. If you’ve ever watched a baby breathe, you’ll notice their belly rises snd falls. Over time and with increasing stressors, it’s not uncommon to find our chests rising abnormally high while breathing. Instead, controlled, deep, belly breathing is where it’s at.


Eat your water. Fruits and veggies hold valuable hydration, loaded with added vitamins and minerals.

What is a “healthy” trend/fad that you aren’t a fan of?

Plant based meat. Nasty.


It sounds so innocent and people probably think that the cute little veggie burger they are cooking up came from a beautiful garden..…it didn’t. It came from a different kind of plant, a factory.


I understand people want options when living plant based, so I’d encourage that demographic to either make their own veggie burger or source from smaller, local and trusted companies.


Top tips for busy people living a healthy lifestyle on-the-go?


Plan ahead. If you know you’re a busy person or operate on the go, accommodate to those needs.


Tip: pick 3 meals or snacks that you know are healthy, easy and taste good every time. Keep those ingredients on hand always.


In the car a lot? Have a go bag in the car loaded with healthy options.

Where do you see Adapted Health in 5 years?


My goal with Adapted Health has always been in helping people find their true north when it comes to their wellness. There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to wellness and as I continue to build and grow my practice, I’m looking to align myself with other functional practitioners to operate a real holistic wellness center. What that looks like exactly, I’m still exploring, but I plan on continuing to learn all the nuances of integrative wellness for years to come.


Bonus Qs!


Thoughts on intermittent fasting?


Without question, digesting food is the hardest thing our body does for us everyday and usually multiple times throughout the day- so it would make sense to give it a break. Break - fast. Most people are utilizing some degree of intermittent fasting by default when they’re sleeping but increasing the time between meals can be a useful tool that can be beneficial for certain people and can also be really detrimental to others. As with everything, it really is specific to the individual.


Thoughts on collagen?


Love it. Bone broth is one of my favorite ways to get it in.


It’s touted to be a cure-all and it's another one of those products that’s flooded the market. Collagen is a great source of protein but again, quality and source are important.


Understanding the source of the collagen can make a difference in its ability to do its' intended job. Collagen (usually) comes from bovine (skin, cartilage and connective tissues). For the plant based peeps, there is marine collagen, which is found in certain algae and jellyfish.


Thoughts on cold showers/plunges?


Embrace the suck!! More and more evidence shows the benefits from cold exposure. Give it a try. Start slow. 10 seconds. Creep your way up to a minute. Then three minutes. Cheap, accessible tool for increased mental resilience and wellness.


In your opinion: what are 3 things people should eliminate from their diet and 3 things they should add to their diet?


Ditch: Seed oils, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sugars .They’re ultra processed and super inflammatory. My favorite sweetener swaps are honey, stevia and monk fruit.


Add: more VARIETY -- try ferments (sauerkraut, kimchi, kefirs, homemade pickles) - great gut foods!


Add: More fiber! (seems to be the ticket to longevity)


Add: Fun! Try new foods. For 4 months straight, every Wednesday, I would pick a country and recreate a local dish as a dynamic way to add more diversity into my diet. Give it a shot.

 

Thank you so much, Eric! I can't wait to see where your journey takes you. You are going to do big things.


You can find Eric on his Insta @AdaptedHealth @EriLewdon


Happy New Year to All!


Xoxo, Lulu

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